ISBN: 1616086874

This is a travel memoir of a British guy who decided to hitchhike to Iran from France because he hated his job. He nicknames the first Middle Eastern person he meets Saddam, which tells you the type of humor you’ll encounter.

The author turns out to be a stereotypical backpacker who is hanging on to his limited funds in order to see an entire country as cheaply as possible. The trip ends up being framed from the lens of his poverty where we’re exposed to nonstop stories of him negotiating with taxi drivers and hotel clerks. There were also a handful of “I think I got ripped off” anecdotes.

I’m well aware that Iranian people are very generous (if you go into an Iranian home you’ll be offered everything short of a bride), but the Brit takes advantage of that in order to get free stuff from an impoverished people. He justifies it by saying “They’re just so giving!” There was one scene where an Iranian man let him stay at his house, sleep on his bed, and eat his food. The Brit offers no payment, then converts $600 US in front of him at an exchange counter. Immediately after, he goes off to buy lunch for a hippie Swede and his girlfriend who he had earlier made fun of.

I can’t help but see him as a charity case, constantly receiving goods and even money from people. I would be embarrassed to write a book where I accepted money from old people, but he does it without any shame. If your trip is dependent on receiving charity, maybe you should work two months more to increase your bankroll. Or shorten your trip by just a bit.

Besides my dislike for the writer, the story itself is lacking. The characters are not developed. There is no tension. He visits only restaurants that are in his Lonely Planet guidebook. He insists on not having a watch or alarm clock yet he stresses out on if he’ll be on time for trains. There was no real ending either—it simply stopped. His trip in Iran may have been amazing, but this book wasn’t.

Read More: “Iranian Rappers & Persian Porn” on Amazon